Save The Unicorn Pub

Eccles residents have set up a campaign to save The Unicorn by re-opening it as a community-owned pub.

They are getting behind a ‘Save and Reopen The Unicorn pub’ Facebook group to challenge plans to demolish the 100-year-old pub on Liverpool Road to build new housing.

Owner the Wellington Pub Company argues that new accommodation in the area is ‘much needed’ and says there are a number of alternative pubs nearby.

Original image by Lee Hodson

Campaigner Lee Hodson, who first set up the campaign on Facebook, says he did not expect the depth of feeling.

He said: “I started off the campaign because I felt like nobody was doing anything to save our iconic pub. I set the page up and didn’t know how many people were actually as passionate as me on saving piece of history.”

The Facebook group for the campaign has almost 400 members, with many posts of nostalgic memories of the pub.

Gary Parsons, who works with Lee on the campaign, said: “We have applied for the pub to be added to the Local Asset of Community Value register so we can try and prevent the pub from being demolished but also to show that with local investment it can be a community pub again.

“So far we have contacted various support networks including Camra, the Plunkett Foundation and Save Britain’s Heritage.

“We have had some excellent support from a lady called Jess from Jericho Road Solutions, who have experienced similar issues with communities losing their local hubs.

“If the Unicorn was to be saved we envisage it to be a local thriving bistro pub that offers great hearty food but also serves local beers that can be served to the community using a micro brewery on site.

“It would also provide an opportunity to give back to the local community by providing jobs, that in the current economic climate are much needed.”

Lee added: “We also have an investor interested to put funds into the building or even to make an offer to purchase it.

“I’m very upset about the proposal, it makes me slightly angry that the owner could just demolish this beautiful building without a thought of how long it’s stood the test of time just to build some homes.”

Gary said: “People did not want to see this historic pub that has served the area since at least 1895 be demolished. It would be tragic.

“I think saving the Unicorn would mean a lot the the local community who have not received any support at all to save their pub.

“The pub means a lot to me because it is a historical building that doesn’t deserve to be demolished but I also worked there for three years in the late 1990s.”

Gary Parsons’ original image working at The Unicorn in the ’90s     

The original Unicorn once sat on Harrison Street and was built in the 1820s,  nicknamed ‘Pretty Margaret’s” after the landlady, Margaret Greaves. In 1895 the pub was remodelled to how it looks today by the Rochdale and Oldham Brewery Company.

Unicorn, Liverpool Road, Eccles. (c) Tony Flynn.


Save The Unicorn Pub
Post by Brenda Cogswell on the ‘Save & Restore the Unicorn’ Facebook Page

The planning application by The Wellington Pub company states: “The proposal represents a policy compliant scheme which would make effective use of under-utilised land and is an appropriate form of development on previously developed land within an urban area which would provide much needed housing.

“Given the existence of alternative facilities within the same catchment area, the proposed redevelopment of the public house would not represent an unnecessary loss of a valued facility.”

Sursham Tompkins planning application


  1. Joan Sullivan

    Hi Mollie
    The Unicorn Pub has from its beginning been a well know landmark for Peel Green. A community hub for locals, my parents and grandparents used it even in the war years it was used for the community to meet up. It was always a lively and active pub football teams, dart teams, where you met up with friends. I was born in 1945 so grew up in the lovely village that was Peel Green. We had farms and thatched cottages down Peel Green Rd towards Barton. 3 pubs Unicorn, Waggon&Horses and the Grapes. We just have the Grapes whuch is very much a male oriented pub. We had a great High Street with a Library, we had the Majestic Cinema. Our playground was the Canal banks along Peel Green Rd which was a vast area now housing estates. Farms along there too and also farms where Brookhouse and Motorway. The Unicorn Pub, the Major Landmark. is all that is left that marks Peel Green. We do not have many facilities local, a Pub Eatery would be ideal instead of out of the area establishments. We need to try to restore Peel Green it has been left by Salford Council to deteriorate, the Unicirn Pub could be the jewel in the Crown. Because of the lack of amenities in particular for females, 3 yrs ago I took the bull by the horns and applied to create a Womens Institute, which I founded and is Eccles Cakes WI. I also founded a Choir from that, Barton Belles Community Choir. Both flourishing on Zoom at present. We need this iconic pub to be saved, desperately.

  2. Joan Sullivan

    The Unicorn Pub has always been the main landmark for Peel Green. I was born in 1945 and up until 20yrs ago it was a lovely village with a great High Street shopping area, Library, Majestic Cinema (which then became The Talk of the North), and 3 pubs, the Unicorn being the biggest and its building relating to the village of the past. It was tbe Community hub of Peel Green, my Parents and Grandparents even used it during the War years to meet up with friends and neighbours to support one another. Peel Green was a country village with farms along Peel Green Rd and also where Brookhouse Estate and Motorway are now.We have one pub The Grapes left open mainly male orientated. Peel Green has lost all amenities over the years, Library, Cinema/Talk of North, Waggon&Horses pub all, park and all our green areas due to housing/Motorway. It has become a deprived area. In 2017 due to lack of leisure/eating place, local pub where females can meet, I founded a Womens Institute (WI) Eccles Cakes WI, also a Choir Barton Belles Community Choir for the health and wellbeing of females in local areas. I had 50 replies the first time I posted on facebook. They are flourishing on Zoom at present. Peel Green desperately needs to save the Unicorn Pub its iconic history is the last landmark, of the Heritage of Peel Green and Eccles. It would be fitting, and so needed for locals to have the Unicorn resurrected, as a lovely friendly local Good Food pub/restaurant.

    • Nicholas Casale

      Hi,great adventure this project.
      Do you by any chance know Sandra Morris ?she has had covid twice and now long covid.She is 80 now and I am anxious to reconnect her to some of her friends,the Earls,especially Joan and any people that may know or have known her.many thanks and Good Luck.

  3. Colin Talbot

    A well written piece.
    This pub should definitely be saved.
    My wife worked there in the mid 90s and had some decent landlords as well

  4. Lorna Apted-Wright

    Hi. I certainly do not agree with the comment from The Wellington Group about there being “alternative facilities in the same catchment area”. Until the last decent landlord and landlady left – the Burns’s, the pub was left to managers that were ill qualified in running a decent pub, they were just ex-bar-people (until the very last lady was allowed to run The Unicorn but it was too late then for her to show her much valued skills! She ran it for about 2 weeks before notice to quit was given, such a shame she had so much potential!)This pub was the busiest around the area, had events all year round, got all the local residents involved in charity events and we literally had “a ball” in there especially from a Thursday to a Sunday, evenso, the other nights were great too with quiz nights, psychic nights and the like! I worked there in the mid-80’s before I was poached to work at another local establishment and then again in the early 2000’s for a short while! Far too many public houses have left the area due to demolishment and they were not as beautiful a pub as this one. With the land at the side, it could have a small B&B for the likes of Salford Rugby Club away team supporters to stay at – food could be served all day and an beer garden with enough parking for patrons too! What a way to enhance Peel Green that is going to the dogs as it is! I think I’ve said enough – as usual. Thank you for reading my “pitch”!

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